Posted by: Hannah | 03/17/2016

ahoy there, mateys

One of the fun things about living in a harbour city is that there are always opportunities to get on board a boat, one way or another.

Halifax has a bunch of paid harbour tour options. There’s an amphibious vehicle where impossibly-cheerful tour guides implore guests to yell “ribbit ribbit” at intervals. There’s a faux riverboat paddlewheel monstrosity, and a sailing vessel with a bar. There’s even this guy:

His eyes! HIS EYES!

His eyes! HIS EYES!

All of these options are for tourists, though. They’re pricey, and (in the case of the amphibious vehicle, anyway) they actually make up stuff about the city’s history instead of just telling the truth.

Want to take a boat ride and see the city from the water? Take the ferry! Our transit system kind of sucks in a lot of ways and Haligonians complain about it constantly, but the ferries are great fun, and if you’re looking for a cheap way to amaze small children, you can’t beat it.

And so today we headed downtown for our ferry adventure. Six dollars got all five of us on board, and we had transfers good until just before lunch for the return trip. We sat outside on the upper deck and looked at the naval ships at the dockyard, the tall buildings in the financial district (“that seems like a lot of banks” said Ron, disgusted), and the seagulls. We saw an osprey fly overhead, so low we could see its eyes. The kids pretended to be pirates and yelled out “LAND HO!” when we approached the dock. Late commuters smiled at us.

On the Dartmouth side, just a hop and a skip from the ferry terminal is a great playground. It’s set up to look like a ship, and was challenging enough for even daredevil Harry. They clambered all over it, screaming at full volume in British accents, because they were the English navy and I was the Spanish Armada.


We played for a good hour, then headed back across on the ferry. As we reached the middle of the harbour, the air suddenly filled with giant fluffy snowflakes. The massive kind that look like feathers.

It was a great morning. Even Daisy was unreservedly having fun, shrieking with delight when she felt the ferry moving under her feet (“I nevah been on a BOAT!!!!” she screamed, really making me question her parents’ life choices).

Only one more day of March Break, and no idea what we’re doing for it… but we’re going to make it this year, folks!




  1. The boat adventure sounds great! It’s more expensive to do the little ferry boats here, but it is very fun.
    Tomorrow if it is nice out we are going bike riding and if it is not nice out we are building a Lego city on the folding table. Today we went bike riding and will go to a friend’s house to play chess.

    Yesterday we went to a friend’s house and we went bike riding.

    The day before we went bike riding and to a friend’s house.

    Guess who learned to ride a bike this week?

  2. I get that Theodore Tugboat is touristy but I think it’s totally awesome.

  3. Loved your march break series… So fun to read.

    Our visits to Halifax now regularly include a ferry ride to that playground now that we have grown too old for tugboats rides…

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